The Seattle Seahawks will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL this Sunday in Detroit, Michigan. Seattle will be trying to win its first-ever National Football League Championship against a team that is determined to give veteran running back Jerome Bettis a Super Bowl ring in his hometown as a retirement gift.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a proud tradition at the Super Bowl. Anchored by quarterback Terry Bradshaw, receiver Lynn Swann, and the so-called "Steel Curtain" defense led by "Mean" Joe Greene, the Steelers won four Super Bowl titles in the 1970s.
As they aim to return to glory, the Steelers should get a huge emotional boost from their desire to win the Super Bowl for teammate Jerome Bettis. Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward explains.
"We are happy to be going to the Super Bowl, but we want to win it," he said. "We are not just happy just to go there. We want to go there and win the whole thing and give him [Jerome Bettis] that ring. And it will be a book in the making of the Jerome Bettis story."
Bettis, who is nicknamed "The Bus," scored a touchdown in the American Conference championship win against the Denver Broncos that put Pittsburgh into the Super Bowl. Bettis's parents have attended every one of his games. In a strange twist, after they have traveled thousands of kilometers following his career, he will get to play his first Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.
It seems like the perfect way to wrap up a 13-year, probable Hall of Fame career that will end with Bettis in fifth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list.
"It is a dream come true in the sense that in the beginning of the season the thought was we could possibly get here," he said. "And I made the decision to come back because I knew we had a good football team and also the Super Bowl was in my back yard, so I am just glad everything worked out."
The Seahawks will do their best to make sure there is no fairy-tale ending for Bettis and the Steelers. Seattle, led by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and NFL Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander, has won 13 of its last 14 games.
And while the Seahawks do not have Pittsburgh's playoff pedigree - they are making the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance - they do have more players who have played in the big game.
Five Seahawks have played in the Super Bowl with other teams, while back-up cornerback Willie Williams is only the Steeler to have made it with another team. Emotion versus experience should make Super Bowl XL an interesting matchup.